News

It’s crucial we address COVID vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Here’s where to start


It's crucial we address COVID vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Here's where to start
We need to remember most health workers aren’t vaccine experts. Credit: Shutterstock

Health workers are at higher risk of COVID infection and illness. They can also act as extremely efficient transmitters of viruses to others in medical and aged care facilities.

That’s why health workers have been prioritized to get a COVID vaccine when it becomes available in Australia.

But just because health workers are among those first in line to receive a COVID vaccine, it doesn’t necessarily mean they all will.

Our health systems represent a microcosm of the community. Just like in the broader community, there will be health workers highly motivated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, driven by concern about risk to themselves, their family, and their patients. There will also be those who have medical conditions, those that may not be able to get vaccinated, and staff who are hesitant.

Read:The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff

There will also be health workers with questions about the vaccine, who perhaps need further support to help them decide.

Reports from the US track vaccine hesitancy among health workers at around 29%. However, it’s important to note different groups have different reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy; rates and reasons can vary across and within countries.

Protecting health workers is critical. Achieving high COVID-19 vaccine uptake among health workers will not only protect these critical staff members, it will also support high levels of uptake among the general public.

Personal health workers are the most trusted source of information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

It's crucial we address COVID vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Here's where to start
Encouraging vaccine confidence among health-care workers will also support high vaccine uptake among the general public. Credit: Shutterstock

Health workers can also be complacent and uncertain about vaccination

Read:Dignity Health Medical Group Announces New Chief Medical Officer

Decision-making around vaccination can be a complex mix of psychosocial, cultural, political and other factors.

Health workers, just like the broader public, may perceive they are at low risk of acquiring a vaccine-preventable disease. They may have concerns about the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine and/or may find it challenging to get vaccinated.

All these factors may make a health worker reluctant to get the vaccine and communication strategies should be tailored to take these factors into account.

How to achieve high and equitable vaccination coverage among health workers

While most health workers understand how vaccines work generally, they may not necessarily be experts across all vaccine types. If we want to ensure they feel comfortable to receive it and advocate for it, then we must address any misunderstanding and concerns health workers may have. This may be focused on the vaccine itself (how it was developed, effectiveness and so on), or the necessity of vaccination.

One strategy that may assist will be to work with middle managers, as they are influential, trusted and can act as vaccine advocates and agents of change. They may also play a role addressing questions or concerns where they arise. If a COVID vaccine becomes an occupational requirement for health workers, hospitals and other organizations need to include middle managers in the development and roll-out of programs. They can then help ensure staff members understand the rationale for the mandate, which staff members are targeted and why.

Read:Common treatment for diabetic macular edema not effective in Black individuals

Investing in the staff responsible for delivering vaccines in the workplace, as well as other potential vaccine allies such as managers, can help reduce COVID vaccine hesitancy among health workers. That will benefit all of us.


COVID vaccine: Even healthcare workers may be hesitant – but new evidence can be reassuring


Provided by
The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Citation:
It’s crucial we address COVID vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Here’s where to start (2021, January 18)
retrieved 18 January 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-crucial-covid-vaccine-hesitancy-health.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.





Source link

Previous post
If you smoke, quitting before age 40 could dramatically lessen your chances of an early heart-related death
Next post
Exploring the role of competitive brain processes in artistic cognition